Gabriel Faure (1845-1924)

By the time of his death in 1924, Gabriel Faure was venerated as the grand old man of French music.

Yet today much of his output is neglected, and he is eclipsed by his better-known contemporaries Debussy and Ravel.

Donald Macleod explores Faure's songs and chamber music, discovering some forgotten gems along the way.

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01

012007060420080901

By the time of his death in 1924, Gabriel Faure was venerated as the grand old man of French music.

Yet today much of his output is neglected, and he is eclipsed by his better-known contemporaries Debussy and Ravel.

Donald Macleod explores Faure's songs and chamber music, discovering some forgotten gems along the way.This programme includes the First Violin Sonata, which launched Faure onto the road to recognition and landed him an important publishing contract on a zero-per cent royalty!

Clair de lune (Moonlight), Op 46, No 2

Felicity Lott (soprano)

Graham Johnson (piano)

Puisqu'ici-bas toute ame (Since here on earth each soul), Op 10, No 1; Tarentelle, Op 10, No 2

Geraldine McGreevy, Stella Doufexis (soprano)

Nocturnes Nos 1-3 for piano, Op 33

Kathryn Stott (piano)

Sonata No 1 for violin and piano, Op 13

Pierre Amoyal (violin)

Pacal Roge (piano)

By the time of his death in 1924, Gabriel Fauré was venerated as the grand old man of French music.

Yet today much of his output is neglected, and he is eclipsed by his better-known contemporaries Debussy and Ravel.

Donald Macleod explores Fauré's songs and chamber music, discovering some forgotten gems along the way.This programme includes the First Violin Sonata, which launched Fauré onto the road to recognition and landed him an important publishing contract on a zero-percent royalty!

Clair de lune (Moonlight), Op 46 No 2

Felicity Lott (soprano)

Graham Johnson (piano)

Puisqu'ici-bas toute ame (Since here on earth each soul), Op 10 No 1; Tarentelle, Op 10 No 2

Geraldine McGreevy, Stella Doufexis (sopranos)

Nocturnes Nos 1-3 for piano, Op 33

Kathryn Stott (piano)

Sonata No 1 for violin and piano, Op 13

Pierre Amoyal (violin)

Pacal Roge (piano).

01The City Awaits2010062820130527

Donald Macleod charts the complex web of personalities in Faure's early life.

Donald Macleod travels to Paris to chart the life of Gabriel Fauré. He's joined by the composer's English biographer Jessica Duchen, pianist Billy Eidi, and the leading authority on Fauré's music Jean-Michel Nectoux.

Listen to his work and you'd think he was the perfect Parisian gentleman. Fauré's music is the epitome of charm, of a Gallic gentleman's reserve. There's nothing offensive, only page after page of utter beauty and ravishing melody. But look into his eyes and you get hints of another story: those dark orbs of a deep-thinking southerner, a man who always struggled for recognition, but who never lost the ability to seduce a lady.

This week Donald Macleod is in Paris to follow Fauré's footsteps, and to probe this most enigmatic of personalities. From the start, Fauré is an outsider. Sent by his family to study at a school for gifted youngsters, the composer quickly decides that the traditional route is not for him. Instead of heading to the conservatoire, dogged by its reputation for fustiness, he falls in with the world of aristocratic music-making. And at the former home of singer Pauline Viardot, Donald Macleod rediscovers something of the allure for Fauré, not just musical opportunities but also the attraction of a highly cultured lady in the form of Viardot's daughter.

We soon discover that this is a template for the composer's life. A few blocks away we take a look inside one of the city's stunning former musical salons. Here, Winnaretta Singer, daughter of the sewing machine king, hosted the likes of Marcel Proust and Georges Sand. Fauré too was a regular, and even embarked on a dramatic work for the salon with legendary writer Paul Verlaine. It was to be ill-fated though: Verlaine succumbed spectacularly to drink and his plots became so off-the-wall that Fauré had to abandon his project.

There are more refined moments too. In the ever-controversial church of La Madeleine, at once a tribute to the revolution and a souped-up banking hall cum railway station, we find the inspiration of Fauré's most famous work, the Requiem, in the death of a local architect, the passing of the composer's own father, and the astounding acoustics of the building itself.

But it's in the equally echoey hallways of the Paris Conservatoire buildings where we get closest to the real Fauré. It took an internal scandal before they would let him in, but here at last Fauré gets a chance to cement his reputation as a member of the French establishment as director of the institution. Here we find the very room where he had his office, and (in the Salle Fauré) the stage where he would take performance exams, and even an ante-room solely for students to pull themselves together or recover their shattered composure before and after playing to the great man.

Donald Macleod begins his week in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, at Passy Cemetery, where Fauré is buried with family members, friends, and leading cultural figures. Together with writer Jessica Duchen he charts the complex web of personalities in the composer's early life, including a formative bond with the musician Camille Saint-Saëns which at times seemingly bordered on the sexual.

Donald Macleod travels to Paris to chart the life of Gabriel Fauré.

He's joined by the composer's English biographer Jessica Duchen, pianist Billy Eidi, and the leading authority on Fauré's music Jean-Michel Nectoux.

Listen to his work and you'd think he was the perfect Parisian gentleman.

Fauré's music is the epitome of charm, of a Gallic gentleman's reserve.

There's nothing offensive, only page after page of utter beauty and ravishing melody.

But look into his eyes and you get hints of another story: those dark orbs of a deep-thinking southerner, a man who always struggled for recognition, but who never lost the ability to seduce a lady.

This week Donald Macleod is in Paris to follow Fauré's footsteps, and to probe this most enigmatic of personalities.

From the start, Fauré is an outsider.

Sent by his family to study at a school for gifted youngsters, the composer quickly decides that the traditional route is not for him.

Instead of heading to the conservatoire, dogged by its reputation for fustiness, he falls in with the world of aristocratic music-making.

And at the former home of singer Pauline Viardot, Donald Macleod rediscovers something of the allure for Fauré, not just musical opportunities but also the attraction of a highly cultured lady in the form of Viardot's daughter.

We soon discover that this is a template for the composer's life.

A few blocks away we take a look inside one of the city's stunning former musical salons.

Here, Winnaretta Singer, daughter of the sewing machine king, hosted the likes of Marcel Proust and Georges Sand.

Fauré too was a regular, and even embarked on a dramatic work for the salon with legendary writer Paul Verlaine.

It was to be ill-fated though: Verlaine succumbed spectacularly to drink and his plots became so off-the-wall that Fauré had to abandon his project.

There are more refined moments too.

In the ever-controversial church of La Madeleine, at once a tribute to the revolution and a souped-up banking hall cum railway station, we find the inspiration of Fauré's most famous work, the Requiem, in the death of a local architect, the passing of the composer's own father, and the astounding acoustics of the building itself.

But it's in the equally echoey hallways of the Paris Conservatoire buildings where we get closest to the real Fauré.

It took an internal scandal before they would let him in, but here at last Fauré gets a chance to cement his reputation as a member of the French establishment as director of the institution.

Here we find the very room where he had his office, and (in the Salle Fauré) the stage where he would take performance exams, and even an ante-room solely for students to pull themselves together or recover their shattered composure before and after playing to the great man.

Donald Macleod begins his week in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, at Passy Cemetery, where Fauré is buried with family members, friends, and leading cultural figures.

Together with writer Jessica Duchen he charts the complex web of personalities in the composer's early life, including a formative bond with the musician Camille Saint-Saëns which at times seemingly bordered on the sexual.

02

0220070605

Donald Macleod explores Fauré's songs and chamber music, discovering some forgotten gems along the way.

2/5.

Fauré meets Liszt, inspires Proust and chooses a wife by a rather unconventional method.

Nell, Op 18 No 1

Jean-Paul Fouchecourt (tenor)

Graham Johnson (piano)

Ballade pour piano seul, Op 19

Kathryn Stott (piano)

Papillon for cello and piano, Op 77

Steven Isserlis (cello)

Pascal Devoyon (piano)

Quartet No 2 for piano, violin, viola and cello, Op 45

Susan Tomes (piano)

Krysia Osostowicz (violin)

Robin Ireland (viola)

Timothy Hugh (cello).

0220080902

Faure meets Liszt, inspires Proust and chooses a wife by a rather unconventional method.

Nell, Op 18 No 1

Jean-Paul Fouchecourt (tenor)

Graham Johnson (piano)

Ballade pour piano seul, Op 19

Kathryn Stott (piano)

Papillon for cello and piano, Op 77

Steven Isserlis (cello)

Pascal Devoyon (piano)

Quartet No 2 for piano, violin, viola and cello, Op 45

Susan Tomes (piano)

Krysia Osostowicz (violin)

Robin Ireland (viola)

Timothy Hugh (cello)

02Sacred Perfection2010062920130528

Donald Macleod follows Faure's work at the controversial Parisian church of La Madeleine.

Donald Macleod follows the composer's footsteps into the ever-controversial Parisian church of La Madeleine, adopted by Napoleon as tribute to the Revolution, and with architectural qualities halfway between cathedral and grand railway station. Nonetheless the building inspired Fauré to create his greatest masterpiece, his Requiem, written for the funeral of a Parisian architect.

Donald Macleod follows Faure's work at the controversial Parisian church of La Madeleine.

Donald Macleod follows the composer's footsteps into the ever-controversial Parisian church of La Madeleine, adopted by Napoleon as tribute to the Revolution, and with architectural qualities halfway between cathedral and grand railway station.

Nonetheless the building inspired Fauré to create his greatest masterpiece, his Requiem, written for the funeral of a Parisian architect.

03

0320040915

In this programme Donald MacLeod discusses Gabriel Fauré's love life and the affect it had on his music.

Après un rêve, Opus 7, No 1

Dame Janet Baker (mezzo soprano)

Geoffrey Parsons (pianos)

Dolly Suite for piano duet

Katia and Marielle Labèque (pianos)

Piano Quintet No 2, Op 115

Domus and Anthony Marwood (pianos).

032007060620080903

The composer turns 40, discovers Verlaine, overcomes depression and starts an affair.

With two major song-cycles of Faure's middle years, La bonne chanson and La chanson d'Eve.

Spleen, Op 51 No 3

Janet Baker (mezzo-soprano)

Geoffrey Parsons (piano)

La bonne chanson, Op 61

Christopher Maltman (baritone)

Graham Johnson (piano)

Sicilienne for cello and piano, Op 78

Steven Isserlis (cello)

Pascal Devoyon (piano)

La chanson d'Eve, Op 95

The composer turns 40, discovers Verlaine, overcomes depression and starts an affair.

With two major song-cycles of Fauré's middle years, La bonne chanson and La chanson d'Eve.

Spleen, Op 51 No 3

Janet Baker (mezzo-soprano)

Geoffrey Parsons (piano)

La bonne chanson, Op 61

Christopher Maltman (baritone)

Graham Johnson (piano)

Sicilienne for cello and piano, Op 78

Steven Isserlis (cello)

Pascal Devoyon (piano)

La chanson d'Eve, Op 95

03At The Salon2010063020130529

Donald Macleod visits the Parisian salons to learn more about the life of Faure.

How did the world's greatest sewing machine entrepreneur come to have a defining influence on the life of Gabriel Fauré? Donald Macleod travels to Paris and gets rare access to one of the city's glorious musical salons to find out more from Jean-Michel Nectoux, leading authority on the composer's music.

How did the world's greatest sewing machine entrepreneur come to have a defining influence on the life of Gabriel Fauré? Donald Macleod travels to Paris and gets rare access to one of the city's glorious musical salons to find out more from Jean-Michel Nectoux, leading authority on the composer's music.

Nocturne no.2 in B major

Pascal Rogé (piano)

Pavane

BBC Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony Chorus, Yan Pascal Tortelier (conductor)

Souvenirs de Bayreuth

Kathryn Stott (piano), Martin Roscoe (piano)

Cinq Mélodies "de Venise": Green, C'est l'extase

Nathalie Stutzmann (contralto), Catherine Collard (piano)

Violin Sonata no.1

Isabelle Faust (violin), Florent Boffard (piano).

Donald Macleod visits the Parisian salons to learn more about the life of Faure.

04

042007060720080904

He examines how the composer coped with the large-scale tragedy of the First World War and the personal tragedy of his own worsening deafness.

Faure responded with some of his finest chamber music to date, including two great instrumental sonatas: his Second Violin and First Cello sonatas.

Exaucement (Le jardin clos), Op 106, No 1

Jennifer Smith (soprano)

Graham Johnson (piano)

Nocturne No 12 for piano, Op 107

Kathryn Stott (piano)

Sonata No 2 for violin and piano, Op 108

Isabelle Faust (violin)

Florent Boffard (piano)

Une Chatelaine en sa tour for harp, Op 110

Ieuan Jones (harp)

Sonata No 1 for cello and piano, Op 109

Steven Isserlis (cello)

Pascal Devoyon (piano)

He examines how the composer coped with the large-scale tragedy of World War I and the personal tragedy of his own worsening deafness.

Fauré responded with some of his finest chamber music to date, including two great instrumental sonatas: his Second Violin and First Cello sonatas.

04Belated Rewards2010070120130530

Donald Macleod explores how Faure finally attained the job he had always sought.

The top brass did their best to keep him out, and it took a scandal to do it, but eventually Gabriel Fauré got the job which brought him the status and recognition he'd always wanted: directorship of the Paris Conservatoire. Donald Macleod makes his way to the very office where Fauré masterminded the institution's reinvention, joined by the composer's biographer Jessica Duchen.

The top brass did their best to keep him out, and it took a scandal to do it, but eventually Gabriel Fauré got the job which brought him the status and recognition he'd always wanted: directorship of the Paris Conservatoire.

Donald Macleod makes his way to the very office where Fauré masterminded the institution's reinvention, joined by the composer's biographer Jessica Duchen.

Morceau de Lecture

Kathryn Thomas (flute), Richard Shaw (piano)

Pelléas et Mélisande: Prélude

L'Orchestre Symphonique Français, Laurent Petitgirard (conductor)

Schmitt: Hommage à Gabriel Fauré

Margaret Fingerhut (piano)

Impromptu no.5

Kathryn Stott (piano)

Le Chanson d'Eve: Paradis

Marilyn Schmiege (mezzo-soprano), Donald Sulzen (piano)

Pénélope: End of Act III (scenes 6-7)

Alain Vanzo (tenor - Ulysse), Jessye Norman (soprano - Pénélope), Jocelyne Taillon (mezzo-soprano - Euryclée), José van Dam (bass - Eumée), Ensemble Vocal Jean Laforge, Monte Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra, Charles Dutoit (conductor)

Ballade

Donald Macleod explores how Faure finally attained the job he had always sought.

05

05 LAST2007060820080905

There's bad news as Faure's hearing problems finally force him to quit his post at the Paris Conservatoire, but good news when he's feted at a national celebration of his music.

He writes the last in a long-running series of Barcarolles for piano as well as two works in previously untried genres, the Piano Trio and his final work, the String Quartet.

C'est la paix, Op 114

Jennifer Smith (soprano)

Graham Johnson (piano)

Barcarolle No 13 for piano, Op 116

Kathryn Stott (piano)

Trio for piano, violin and cello, Op 120

Anthony Marwood (violin)

Richard Lester (cello)

Susan Tomes (piano)

String Quartet, Op 121

Adrian Berescu, Serban Mereuta (violin)

Bogdan Bisoc (viola)

Filip Papa (cello)

There's bad news as Fauré's hearing problems finally force him to quit his post at the Paris Conservatoire, but good news when he's feted at a national celebration of his music.

He writes the last in a long-running series of Barcarolles for piano as well as two works in previously untried genres, the Piano Trio and his final work, the String Quartet.

C'est la paix, Op 114

Jennifer Smith (soprano)

Graham Johnson (piano)

Barcarolle No 13 for piano, Op 116

Kathryn Stott (piano)

Trio for piano, violin and cello, Op 120

Anthony Marwood (violin)

Richard Lester (cello)

Susan Tomes (piano)

String Quartet, Op 121

Adrian Berescu, Serban Mereuta (violins)

Bogdan Bisoc (viola)

Filip Papa (cello).

05 LASTFaurã©: Passions Within2010070220130531

Donald Macleod discusses Faure's visit to a village fete in the Vale of Glamorgan.

The organisers of a village fête in the Vale of Glamorgan strike lucky with a star guest organist, none other than Fauré himself. Donald Macleod is joined by the composer's English biographer, Jessica Duchen, to find out how the Frenchman found himself amongst the practitioners of palmistry and ventriloquism at this quaintly British extravaganza.

The organisers of a village fête in the Vale of Glamorgan strike lucky with a star guest organist, none other than Fauré himself.

Donald Macleod is joined by the composer's English biographer, Jessica Duchen, to find out how the Frenchman found himself amongst the practitioners of palmistry and ventriloquism at this quaintly British extravaganza.

Soir

Yann Beuron (tenor), Billy Eidi (piano)

Songs:

Larmes, Au cimetière, Spleen, La Rose

Romance orch.Gaubert

Chantal Juillet (violin), Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Charles Dutoit (conductor)

Nocturne no.7

Kathryn Stott (piano)

Cello Sonata no.2: final movement

Christian Poltéra (cello), Kathryn Stott (piano)

String Quartet: 2nd movement

Dante Quartet.

Donald Macleod discusses Faure's visit to a village fete in the Vale of Glamorgan.